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trail Upgrades in Glen Canyon regional park

Trail upgrading work will see a portion of the Glen Canyon Greenway Trail closed during a few mornings next week.

Members of the Gellatly Bay Trails and Parks Society are volunteering their time to complete the installation of crib steps, hand rails and raising planks on two areas along the trail in Glen Canyon Regional Park.  In order for volunteers to safely physical distance and if air quality permits, the Glen Canyon Greenway trail will be closed from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm Monday, Tuesday and if needed Wednesday, downstream from the Acorn bridge and upstream of the Doe Trail bridge from the Brown Road entrance. 

Visitors are asked to respect trail closure signs and adjust their trail use to stay out of the closed area.

All 30 regional parks and 20 RDCO community parks remain open for residents to safely enjoy. Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.  There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in RDCO parks including 63 kilometres of formal regional park trails for visitors to use while practicing physical distancing.

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Cougar Sightings in Woodhaven nature conservancy regional park

Warning signs have been posted advising visitors to Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park about recent cougar activity in the area.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan says there have been some sightings reported and this information has been passed on to the Conservation Officer Service.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has information on Cougars on its website.  It advises that while human conflicts with these large cats are extremely rare and an attack is highly unlikely, it pays to be prepared especially when in a natural setting as cougars are unpredictable.  It recommends that people should travel in groups of two or more and that you make enough noise so that you don’t surprise a cougar.  Carry a sturdy walking stick that can be used as a weapon if necessary and keep children and pets close at hand and under control.  If you encounter a cougar, stay calm, talk to it in a confident voice, pick up all children off the ground and never turn your back on the animal.  Instead, back away slowly, remaining upright and do all you can to make yourself look larger, and always give a cougar an avenue of escape.

Regional Park visitors are reminded that if allowed, dogs must be leashed at all times and must remain on designated trails. 

If you observe a cougar or bear within any Regional Park please contact the Parks Services office at 250-469-6232 and the Conservation Officer Service RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

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Mission Creek Greenway bridges Open

Three bridges along the Mission Creek Greenway are once again open for use.

The Regional District thanks everyone for their patience and understanding while new decking and handrails were installed on the Smoothing Stones, Cedars and Friends bridges.

They are located along the Greenway between the Hollywood Road south and Field Road entrances of Scenic Canyon Regional Park.

With the upgrading and refurbishing complete, all 16.5-kilometres of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational trail is accessible for visitors.

The Central Okanagan has 30 regional parks protecting over 2,100 hectares, many of which contain natural forested areas and may contain natural hazards.   Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.  For everyone’s safety please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between yourself and other visitors.

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Nut Sale Changes at Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park

There are some changes this year for nut sales at Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park.

The proceeds from this annual fall nut harvest and sale is used by the non-profit Gellatly Nut Farm Society to assist with upkeep and improvements in the popular four-hectare waterfront regional park and working nut orchard off Whitworth Road in West Kelowna.

This year in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Society volunteers will not be operating the nut house store.  Instead through November, members of the public that wish to purchase nut varieties are asked to self-harvest:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before and after nut harvesting.
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between yourself and others in the orchard and park.
  • Bring your own bags.
  • Pick from the ground only.  Please do not climb trees. Nuts fall to the ground when they are ripe and ready for harvest.
  • Payment is by cash only must be deposited into the payment box at the house near the Whitworth Road park entrance.  The Society is unable to accept any other form of payment.
    • Small bucket: $5.00
    • Large bucket: $10.00

Nuts that are not paid for upon leaving the Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park, may result in a $500 fine under the Regional Parks bylaw 1427.

Anyone that would like to purchase a special wood bowl or cutting board made from orchard wood is asked to contact the Society at 250-470-0999 or 250-768-5960.

For more information about the park, nut harvest and Nut Use and Care visit rdco.com/gellatlynutfarm.

All 30 regional parks and 20 RDCO community parks remain open for residents to safely enjoy. Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.  There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in RDCO parks including 63 kilometres of formal regional park trails for visitors to use while practicing physical distancing. 

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Bear Watch in RDCO Parks

Spawning Kokanee salmon.  Ripening fruit in orchards and vineyards.  These are a few seasonal attractants that bring bears down into the valley.

That’s also why you can expect more bears frequenting Central Okanagan Regional Parks, especially those connected to the higher elevations.

RDCO Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “This is the time of year that bears make their presence known and our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around.  As sightings and evidence of their presence increase, we post signs in several of our parks advising that bears may be active in the area.”  View Safety Guide to Wildlife in Regional Parks

“If possible” he says “travel in a group and make some noise so any bears are aware of your presence.  As the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season ramps up visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source in local creeks and streams.  Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water.   If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”

Whenever possible avoid encounters with bears as they can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. Bears also have excellent senses of smell and hearing and better sight than you might believe.  Unless otherwise designated, dog owners are reminded their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times in order to avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.

Residents also have a role to play by securely storing any garbage and only placing their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection.  That helps to reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.

All Regional Parks remain open for visitors using safe distancing practices.  There are 63 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks, many of which are naturally protected forested areas and may contain natural hazards.   Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.  If you do visit our regional parks, please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between you and other visitors.

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Several Fall Projects in RDCO parks

It’s going to be a busy few months for upgrades in several RDCO regional and community parks.

Following the Labour Day weekend, crews will begin several projects planned over the fall.

Next Tuesday (Sept. 8) construction is scheduled to begin on a new picnic shelter in Westshore Estates Community Park serving residents of the North Westside communities.  This project will take about a week and a half to complete.

Once that structure has been installed, crews will move to remove and replace existing picnic structures in Traders Cove Regional Park, then in Raymer Bay Regional Park.

The cost of these three new picnic shelters is $235,000.  The Westshore park shelter is funded by the Canada-BC Gas Tax program.

The week of September 14, the old playground at Bertram Creek Regional Park will be removed and replaced with a modern play structure.  It will take approximately one week to complete the installation and the playground area will be closed until the new equipment is in place.  This project is estimated at $72,000.

Visitors to these parks are asked to please observe any signage in place and stay out of closed areas. 

The Central Okanagan has 30 regional parks protecting over 2,100 hectares, many of which contain natural forested areas and may contain natural hazards.   Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.  For everyone’s safety please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between yourself and other visitors.

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Cancelled - Volunteer Stewardship Opportunity

September 18 - We're sorry to advise due to the smoky unfavourable air quality conditions, for the safety of registered participants, we've had to cancel this event.

As it's getting late in the season for this type of activity, it won't be rescheduled for this year.
Please watch the Volunteer in Parks website https://www.rdco.com/.../events-and-programs/volunteer.aspx for new Public Stewardship – Invasive Weed Management Events taking place starting in the spring of 2021.
Thank you for your interest in Volunteering in Regional Parks! Your time and commitment is very much appreciated!

 

Learn about invasive plants and do something positive to rid these nasty plants from a section of the Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park.

There is an opportunity coming up for volunteers through the RDCO Parks VIP Invasive Weed Management and Stewardship events.

A maximum of eight people can sign up to participate by removing weeds along a section of the popular recreational trail between 9:00 am and 11:00 on:

• Saturday, September 19

No experience is needed and training and equipment will be provided. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, participants will be physically distanced at all times.

For more information or to register for this activity visit rdco.com/parksVIP.

The RDCO Volunteers in Parks program has a variety of opportunities available for people who love the outdoors and want to help raise awareness and protect our 30 regional parks in the Central Okanagan. There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover including 63 kilometres of formal regional park trails for visitors to use while practicing physical distancing.

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Kokanee Interpretive Programs

In order to keep everyone comfortable, safe and distanced, we've adjusted our annual Kokanee Salmon interpretative programs.  Pre-registration is required, only eight people per program time, No drop-ins allowed.
What hasn't changed is that September is Kokanee spawning season!
Thousands of our fresh water, land-locked salmon will leave Okanagan Lake and swim upstream in creeks and streams to spawn in their natal waters.
Join a Park Interpreter at one of two key spawning locations for one of two sessions each day:
  • September 9 - 9:30 - 10:30 am / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • September 23 - 9:30 - 10:30 am / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • September 16 - 9:30 - 10:30 am / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • September 30 - 9:30 - 10:30 am / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Learn more about the Kokanee salmon life cycles and unlock some of the fishy mysteries of the Okanagan.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, each program is limited to 8 pre-registered participants to allow for physical distancing.  No drop-ins.
There's no cost to register your space. All ages welcome.

For more information on this and other EECO and Regional Parks programs visit the Regional District website rdco.com/parksevents or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Retaining Wall Replacement in Mission creek Regional Park

Starting August 26, there’s going to be new construction activity taking place in a portion of Mission Creek Regional Park.

Over the next three weeks, workers will be replacing a section of wooden retaining wall along the Kokanee Trail between the Soopollalie and Turtle Pond trails south of Mission Creek. This 30-metre portion of the trail will be closed for installation of a new 1.5-metre high gabion basket wall and handrails.

Visitors are asked to stay off the closed trail and to be aware of trucks and heavy equipment accessing the work area from the Hall Road service entrance.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 63 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

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Canada-BC Grant helps build out access to regional park

Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park will become more accessible, thanks to a large infrastructure grant.

Under the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the two senior governments will contribute almost $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.   The Park protects cultural assets as well as a unique Okanagan grassland habitat.

The federal government is contributing $390,000; the BC government $324,967, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide $260,033 for a project that will build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.

RDCO Chair Gail Given says “This is an exciting investment in our community and the largest of our 30 regional parks. The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan.”

Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson says “lim ləmt, thank you, to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors. As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation co-manage the protected 640-hectare regional park which is a significant cultural, historic and geographic namesake landmark.  It’s home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is vital to the syilx/Okanagan people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making found in the area. In nsyilxcín (in-SEALK-chin - Okanagan language), sntsk‘il’ntən (sins–te– KEEL–ten) translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”.

The funds will be used to build three, new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain.  In addition, important park amenities will be constructed:

  • washrooms
  • parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road
  • information and kiosk signage
  • guard rail fences

The work is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.

It’s expected an official park opening will take place this fall and while work in the park is still underway, some of the park is open now. The current temporary access to Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park is through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain park.  The Swainson Road access is currently closed while the Black Mountain Irrigation District installs a new water main.  Residents are asked to stay on the trail so natural areas are not disturbed.

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No Smoking or Fires in rDCO Parks

This morning (July 29) a potentially dangerous situation was averted in Glen Canyon Regional Park.

Regional Parks staff found and extinguished a campfire near the park entrance along Upper Smith Creek Road.  West Kelowna Fire Rescue also attended.

With a rising fire hazard and continued hot, dry conditions in the forecast, everyone is reminded that smoking, vaping, fires or open flames are not allowed any time in regional parks or RDCO Community Parks. If anyone in a park sees a fire, they should immediately call 9-1-1 to report it.

While the fines for anyone found violating the Regional Parks or RDCO Community Parks bylaws range from $250 to $1,000, the larger danger is that such activity could result in a serious fire that threatens nearby residential areas.

In addition to the regular signage at park entrances, special Fire Warning sandwich boards are being rotated around the regional park system reminding visitors of the fire hazard and that smoking and open fires are not allowed.

There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in 30 regional and 20 RDCO community parks.  Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.   Please be safe and remember to keep at least two metres between yourself and other visitors.

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Volunteer Stewardship Opportunities - Updated July 31

Learn about invasive plants and do something positive to rid these nasty plants from a section of the Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park.

There are new opportunities coming up for volunteers through the RDCO Parks VIP Invasive Weed Management and Stewardship events.  View Activity Poster

A maximum of eight people can sign up to participate by removing weeds along a section of the popular recreational trail between (NEW) 9:00 and 11:00 am on each of the following dates:

  • Saturday, August 15
  • Saturday, September 19

No experience is needed and training and equipment will be provided.  In order to ensure everyone’s safety, participants will be physically distanced at all times.

For more information or to register for this activity visit rdco.com/parksVIP

The RDCO Volunteers in Parks program has a variety of opportunities available for people who love the outdoors and want to help raise awareness and protect our 30 regional parks in the Central Okanagan.  There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover including 63 kilometres of formal regional park trails for visitors to use while practicing physical distancing.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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New Regional Park Management Plan

The Regional Board has adopted a Management Plan for Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park

The 20 year plan will help guide development of the 29.8-hectare Regional Park properties has four unique ecological areas, several species at risk including the Western Screech Owl and the Eco Culture Centre in partnership with the UBC Okanagan Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.  The plan was developed over the past year with extensive input from stakeholders and residents.  It’s designed to respect and protect the cultural, conservation and heritage values of the original 8.7-hectare park with outdoor education opportunities and future recreational connections to the Bellevue Creek Greenway and Canyon Falls Park.  

The management plan is consistent with the proposed 2017 – 2021 Financial Plan and any financial projects will be subject to Regional Board approval.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)